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 Social Studies


Social Studies as a field of study is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary - the coordinated, systematic study drawing upon social science disciplines such as history, geography, economics, civics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and futures, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. It is designed to promote civic competence - the integration of knowledge, skills, and ethical perspectives required to assume “the office of citizen” (as Thomas Jefferson called it). The primary purpose of the social studies education is helping students develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent, ever-changing world. 

Social Studies

Social Studies Curriculum

Course Sequencing & Content Descriptions Grades K-9Course Sequencing & Content Descriptions Grades 9-12Course Textbooks Lists

Course Sequencing & Content Descriptions Grades K-9

Social Studies K-9

Links to Curriculum/Course Content Descriptions:
Social Studies Grades K-5 (2005)Social Studies Grades 6-8World History

Course descriptions (content standards) are mirrored in the Oregon State Content & Benchmark Standards. The content standards are measured in the Oregon Statewide Assessments.


Course Sequencing & Content Descriptions Grades 9-12

Social Studies 9-12


Links to High School Course Content Descriptions:

World HistoryInternational RelationsAP Psychology
Modern US HistoryComparative Religious, Ethical & Legal...AP Economics
AP US HistoryComparative World HistoryAP World History
Crisis! World DramasGlobal IssuesAP European History
Street LawWorld Wars of the 20th CenturyAP US Government & Politics
Oregon, The PeopleAP Art History
Middle Eastern StudiesAmerican Civil WarHonors Humanities
Vietnam in the 60sHonors Law A
EconomicsCitizen & Society: GovernmentHonors Law B
PsychologyHonors International Relations

 Documents reflect the approved district course descriptions; however, actual course content and timeline may vary based on teacher and class needs. Course selection and sequencing may vary based on teacher recommendation and student interest. Not all courses may be offered every year or at both high schools.

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Social Studies Instruction

Guiding Principles

Indicators of
Instruction Related DocumentsInternet Resources

Guiding Principles
  • World Class Education
    School culture directly impacts student achievement.

  • Learning
    Social studies learning is meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and active.

  • Teaching
    Powerful social studies teaching strives for student understanding, appreciation, and life application.

  • Curriculum
    A powerful social studies curriculum is unified by its purposes and goals.

  • Research & Information Literacy
    Information literate students are those who have learned how to learn and are prepared for lifelong learning.

  • Assessment
    The primary purpose of assessment is to improve teaching and learning.

Related document:  West Linn-Wilsonville Social Studies Instruction Guiding Principles
(further description of above guiding principles and associated bibliography sources)

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Classroom Indicators of Excellence

What is excellence in social studies education? 

Teacher, student and environment combine to produce excellence in education. Attributes of each are summarized in the Classroom Indicators of Excellence document.

Instruction Related Documents

Internet Resources
  • Oregon Department of Education - Social Sciences
    Includes information regarding and/or links to standards, curriculum and instruction, assessment, and professional organizations.

  • West Linn-Wilsonville School District Online Resources
    Access to digital library resources and school online library catalogs.

  • National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
    Founded in 1921, National Council for the Social Studies has grown to be the largest association in the country devoted solely to social studies education. NCSS engages and supports educators in strengthening and advocating social studies.

  • Classroom Law Project (CLP)
    Classroom Law Project, located in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit organization of educators, lawyers, and civic leaders. CLP helps students at all grade levels learn to be informed and active citizens who can foster, sustain, and preserve a free democratic society.

  • Center for Civic Education
    The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to fostering the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy. The Center administers a wide range of critically acclaimed curricular, teacher-training, and community-based programs.

  • National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS)
    The National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA (NCHS) promotes the improvement of history education in the schools. The initial project of NCHS was the production of the National Standards for History, Basic Edition (1996), which outlines US and world history content and thinking standards for grades 5-12.

  • National Council on Economic Education (NCEE)
    The National Council on Economic Education (NCEE) is a nationwide network that leads in promoting economic literacy with students and their teachers.

  • National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE)
    The National Council for Geographic Education works to enhance the status and quality of geography teaching and learning.

  • Library of Congress American Memory Program
    American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity.

  • National Geographic Society
    For more than a hundred years, the National Geographic Society has pursued its mission to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge. The Society has made a special effort to support this goal by establishing the Education & Children's Programs department, which works to motivate and enable each new generation to become geographically literate.

  • APA Online - Education Directorate
  • APA Online - Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS)
    The Education Directorate of the American Psychological Association, established in January 1990, has endeavored to advance the science and practice of psychology for the benefit of the public through educational institutions, programs, and initiatives. The directorate seeks to advance education and training in psychology and the application of psychology to education and training.

  • From Now On (FNO) - The Educational Technology Journal
    Published by Dr. Jamie McKenzie, educator of 30 years working as teacher, principal, superintendent, and director of libraries, media and technology. Currently writes and speaks extensively on the introduction of new information technologies to schools, information literacy, and the transformation of classrooms and schools to support student-centered, engaged learning.

  • Big6™
    The Big6 is an information literacy model, sometimes called a metacognitive scaffold, or an information problem solving strategy. Developed by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz, the Big6 is the most widely-known and widely-used approach to teaching information and technology skills.

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